Saturday

16th Dec 2017

English at risk as official EU language

  • Huebner: EU rules need to be changed for English to become an EU official once the UK leaves (Photo: epp group)

A senior MEP has said English would be dropped as an EU official language once the UK leaves the bloc, unless rules are changed.

"If we don't have the UK, we don't have English," Polish centre-right MEP Danuta Huebner told reporters in Brussels on Monday (27 June).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Huebner chairs the European Parliament's committee on constitutional affairs (AFCO). The committee oversees the parliament's role on the UK's exit from the European Union.

Speaking in English, Huebner said EU rules allow member state to notify only one official language each, not two or more.

English is spoken in Malta and Ireland. But Malta notified Maltese as an official EU language and Ireland notified Gaelic as its official language. Only the UK had requested English.

Huebner said the rules are outlined in article 342 of the Treaty, which is based on a regulation that dates back to 1958.

But the rules cited by Huebner are not entirely explicit.

Article eight of the 1958 regulation notes that "if a member state has more than one official language, the language to be used shall, at the request of such state, be governed by the general rules of its law."

Some lawyers may have a different interpretation.

But Huebner said it meant that Malta or Ireland cannot also request English as an official language without first making a change to the EU rulebook.

She said any change would require a unanimous decision in the EU Council.

Huebner said she was confident all remaining EU states would endorse the rule change to accommodate English, which is also the main working language among the EU institutions.

"I personally believe that we will find unanimity to change the rule on this ... and then we will have from the Irish not only Gaelic but also English or from the Maltese not only Maltese but also English," she said.

EU will not press UK for immediate exit talks

EU leaders say there is a "very significant crisis" in the UK. At a summit on Tuesday, they will not press the British prime minister to trigger the procedure to leave the EU.

Commission wants more centralised eurozone by 2019

EU leaders will discuss at their summit next week the commission's proposals, which include a European Monetary Fund and an EU finance minister - but no eurozone budget, as proposed by French president Emmanuel Macron.

News in Brief

  1. EU adopts 'track-and-trace' tobacco system
  2. Luxembourg appeals Amazon tax decision
  3. EU leaders agree to open phase 2 of Brexit talks
  4. Juncker: May made 'big efforts' on Brexit
  5. Merkel took 'tough' line on Russia at EU summit
  6. EU leaders added line supporting 'two-state' solution
  7. EU leaders agree to 20 European Universities by 2024
  8. Belgian courts end legal proceedings against Puigdemont

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  2. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% plastics recycling rate attainable by 2025 new study shows
  3. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  4. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  5. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  6. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  10. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  12. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties

Latest News

  1. Catalonia, Brexit, and Uber on EU agenda This WEEK
  2. Macron and Merkel take tough line on Poland
  3. Eurozone future needs structural reforms, EU leaders told
  4. Showdown EU vote on asylum looking likely for next June
  5. EU stresses unity as it launches next phase of Brexit talks
  6. Polish PM ready for EU sanctions scrap
  7. Dutchman to lead powerful euro working group
  8. EU mulls post-Brexit balance of euro and non-eurozone states